A bunion, otherwise known as Hallux valgus, is a foot deformity that occurs when there is an imbalance in the muscle and tendon that control the big toe. A bunion causes the big toe to move toward the second toe, forming a bony lump on the joint at the base of the big toe. Bunion surgery or bunionectomy is a treatment to correct a bunion.
Let’s talk about the types of bunion surgery, the reasons to undergo bunion surgery, and where you can go for the comprehensive evaluation and treatment of a bunion in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Types of Bunion Surgery
There are different types of surgical procedures for bunion treatment – and the type of surgery for each individual varies depending on the severity of the bunion, the patient’s age, activity level, general health, and conditions of the surrounding bones and connective tissues.
Common techniques for bunion surgery are:
Osteotomy. This is one of the most commonly performed procedures for bunion treatment. During the osteotomy, the foot and ankle surgeon makes a few small incisions in the bones of the big toe joint and then uses screws or pins to realign the big toe joint.
Exostectomy. This procedure is often performed along with osteotomy. During exostectomy, the surgeon shaves off the bunion and then uses an osteotomy approach to reposition the big toe joint.
Exostectomy alone can be performed for mild bunions.
Arthrodesis. Bunions that result from arthritis inflammation can be treated with arthrodesis. In the surgical procedure, your foot and ankle doctor removes the arthritic part of the big toe joint and then places screws and pins in the toe to hold the bones together while they heal. This procedure is reserved for the most severe cases of bunions.
Common Scenarios in Which Bunion Surgery is Necessary
There are many reasons to have bunion surgery. The main reasons include:
You Have Significant Bunion Pain
Bunions can be painful, and most people with bunions find relief from pain with simple conservative measures, such as wearing wider shoes, using pads in the shoes, and taking pain-relieving medications. However, when conservative measures do not relieve the painful and discomforting symptoms of bunion, podiatrists recommend bunion surgery.
You Have Significant Swelling and Inflammation in the Big Toe
Bunions can also result in swelling and inflammation in the big toe. When the chronic swelling and inflammation persist despite adequate rest, application of ice packs, over-the-counter pain relievers, and proper footwear, bunion surgery becomes necessary to find adequate pain relief.
Your Toe Has Deformed
A bunion can cause toe deformity or drifting in of the big toe towards the smaller toes, causing toes to cross over each other. A toe deformity may lead to toe stiffness (inability to straighten and bend the big toe), instability, and difficulty wearing your regular shoes.
Bunion surgery aims to correct the deformity of the bones making up the toe and foot and restore proper alignment.
You Want to Restore the Function of Your Foot
Bunions can have a significant impact on the functioning of the foot. For instance, the deviation of the big toe towards the other toe can disrupt the normal distribution of weight and pressure during standing or walking, leading to gait problems.
Furthermore, bunions can cause stiffness and limited mobility, which can limit your foot’s ability to perform activities, such as bending, flexing, or pushing off during running or walking. Bunion surgery can correct the structural deformity of big toes and thereby restore the normal functioning of the foot.
Bunion Surgery in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Untreated bunions can lead to hammertoes – another foot deformity in which a joint on your toe points up instead of lying flat. Therefore, it is important to seek the treatment of the bunions from a trained and skilled foot doctor.
At Foot & Ankle Institute of New England, our board-certified podiatrists are experts in providing a comprehensive range of treatments for foot and ankle conditions, including bunions. Our foot and ankle doctors can offer both conservative treatments and surgical treatments to address your lower extremity issues so that you can move freely and confidently.
To make an appointment with one of our foot and ankle doctors, call us today at one of our three convenient locations in Middletown, Fall River, and Warwick or alternatively, use our online appointment request form.